Week 31: The Great Cookie Caper

Low-calorie holiday cookies...yum!I didn’t think it was possible. Find and bake delicious holiday treats that didn’t bust the gut? No way. But, I did it.

There may have been a few cookie blunders along the way, but I managed to track down two different delectable holiday deserts that you’ll be proud to serve your little cookie monsters (aka children), and friends & family at holiday events.

Plus, at 75 calories or less each? Well, you can have your cookies and eat them too (or eat five of them, in my case).

My two picks are Oreo Cheesecake Truffles and Festive Gingersnaps. The truffles are simple but incredibly delicious Oreo cheesecake bites that are perfect for the baking-impaired or those short on time. The gingersnaps are for those in a more festive or traditional holiday mood, and are sure to fill your home with a sweet and spicy aroma of cookies that somehow taste even better than they smell.

Oreo Cheesecake Truffles (Adapted from this source.)
Makes about 30 truffles.

8 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
30 reduced-fat Oreos
3-4 oz. melted chocolate for decoration

1. Smash Oreos in a plastic bag until they are all crumbs. (Great task when you need to get some frustration out! I used the bottom of a hard plastic glass to smash against the cookie bag.)
2. In bowl, combine cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well mixed.
3. Drop bite-sized balls of mixture on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
4. Drizzle with melted chocolate.
5. Store in fridge for at least one hour, or until ready to serve.

The verdict:
75 calories per truffle. I made this recipe lower-cal by using the fat-free cream cheese and lower fat cookies. And honestly—you really can’t tell the difference!

Festive Gingersnaps (Adapted from this source.)
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

½ cup light butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup molasses
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tbsp. ground ginger
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground cloves
¾ tsp. ground allspice
red sugar sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In bowl, cream together butter brown sugar. Mix in egg, and then molasses.
3. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
4. Incorporate dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just blended.
5. Spoon balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dough may be slightly sticky still.
6. Sprinkle tops of cookies with red sugar.
7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in oven, depending on how crunchy you like your gingersnaps. (I like ‘em chewy, so I only baked them about 10 minutes.)

The verdict:
Only 60 calories per cookie! I didn’t feel bad eating three of them in a row last night (until I was bouncing around from all the sugar). My co-workers found that these go great with morning coffee, too. Decrease flour to make flatter, crispier cookies. And, they are almost sweet enough without adding sugar to the top if you want to forgo the sprinkled sugar on top.

I suspect that these delicious treats would make some great holiday gifts. Wrap them up on a new Christmas platter, in a cute holiday box, or sit a stack of gingersnaps in a coffee mug with a bow tied around it. Instant gifting possibilities!

In spite of eating a lot of Christmas cookies this week, I managed to stay at the same weight as last week. My ankle is on the mend and I am FINALLY back to running about 2 miles every night without much pain at all. I suspect this helps offset the copious amounts of baked goods and chocolate I have been scarfing down. Unfortunately, it has begun to snow over the last week and a half, which means that most days I have to head to the gym to get some running in. (Although on the few occasions I ventured out into the cold, I did feel pretty hardcore.) I really do dread going to the gym—not because of the working out, but because of the stuffy, smelly, humid box I feel I’m trapped in.

What do you do in the winter: Brave the cold arctic tundra (okay, it has only been between 20 and 30 degrees out, but still)…or face the dreaded gym? Or, do you sit at home and eat cookies and stare at your twinkling Christmas tree all night like I did last night? Er…oops.

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 149.5 pounds
This week: 149.5 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy baking!

P.S. Our “12 Days of JOY” campaign is still running! You can see each day’s deal here: http://www.jockey.com/12deals/

Week 30: Christmas is coming! (Cookies, anyone?)

As I looked out the window today and saw soft, little snowflakes floating around in the wind, it finally hit me… Christmas is almost HERE! Finally, my most favorite time of the year!

Working as a designer for a major retailer, I started thinking of Christmas themes and designs way back in August. So, as time has passed by and we finally put our Christmas designs online (like our NEWEST home page), it should have hit me that, yes, Christmas is finally approaching. But, it hadn’t quite struck me until now.

Usually, when I go home for Thanksgiving, the snow + being around my family + going early Black Friday shopping at the mall, which is decorated like a Christmas winter wonderland, is enough to get me into the holiday spirit, and then some. In fact, it used to take all my strength to not get into the Christmas spirit until after Thanksgiving. When I was little, we would get home from our relatives’ Thanksgiving party, and I would be so excited for the holidays that I would start dragging out the Christmas decorations—at which point my mom would scold me and tell me to wait until the next morning because, “no, we are not putting up all the Christmas decorations at 11 o’clock at night. “

But, this year has been different for some reason. Christmas has seemed like some far-off day to me; yet now, we are down to less than 25 days until my single most favorite day of the year.

Now that the holiday cheer has begun to warm my little heart, it’s time to start planning. Do you love it, or dread it, all the planning that Christmas entails? The Christmas tree, the decorating, the gift buying & wrapping, the trips into the city to see the twinkling lights, the Christmas cookie making… I love it all! (Though I do admit that sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming.)

My goal this year (besides getting my Christmas shopping all done before December 24th) is to make a bunch of delicious—but healthier—Christmas cookies. I am a cookie FIEND and I love sweets. Although I’m trying to be healthier this year, I definitely don’t want to miss out on my cookies!

So tell me: What are your favorite kinds of Christmas cookies, and if you’re willing to share, what’s your favorite recipe? Please leave a comment and let me know! I will pick some of your recipes, plus some of my favorites, and bake them in my self-proclaimed Great Cookie Caper of 2010. :) They may not be deemed as “healthy” but, at least they will be healthier! And, on top of that, I plan to show you cute ideas on how to make cookies into cute Christmas gifts.

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 148.5 pounds
This week: 149.5 pounds (1 pound of turkey, stuffing, and mom’s homemade apple pie!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Have a holly jolly week!

P.S. Looking for good deals on presents? I know I love me some good bargains! We have our “12 Days of JOY” campaign running now through December 12, one BIG deal every day. You can see each day’s deal here OR get them delivered via email every day by signing up for our fabulous Jockey.com emails.